Stories and story-telling in relation to helping everyone think creatively

A. First some contrasts:
1a. Story-telling as a way to DESCRIBE the PARTICULARITY of people’s intersecting strands (e.g., a person’s body, unconscious & thinking, the context they are working/living/growing in, the specific kinds of products [which may include ideas] they are focused on, and the tools and processes they are employing or involved in).

AND 1b. telling different stories of all this as a way to open up alternative paths (and make it impossible to simply continue along previous lines [ITS CAPL].

2. Stories and story-telling as a source of guidance to help anyone move to ITS CAPL.

2a. Helping people do 1b in all its richness (see Narrative Therapy and the late Michael White) OR

2b. Stories that have a lesson that might apply quite widely under the model that the person is the director of their own lives (as against paying more attention to contextual developments in their particularity).

B. I looked into the stories that Norman Rosenthal includes in his new book The Gift of Adversity.  There are 52 and each ends with his account of the lesson of the story.  I have not yet got to see the book, but I would say his stories fit under 2a (having reviewed the table of contents and heard him talk).  “Each of us is the hero of our own lives” he says, but he also discounts the value of will power in favor of developing “good” habits.  One lesson I heard, which seems to speak to the many-strandedness of creativity is (in my paraphrase): “Think about a world after we’ve left it and what we want that to be for others.”

C. I am interested to assemble stories from us about creativity (as we construe it & stories not necessarily about what we get from adversity).  From a set of these stories I can imagine generating a “mandala” of tensions among the different lessons (just as my class and colleagues did to arrive at http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/MakingSpace.html).  Let’s see.

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About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, http://bit.ly/NNN2014). On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012, http://bit.ly/TYS2012).

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